It’s onward and upward for the finalists in this year’s EY awards program.
When it comes to identifying the most dynamic and inspiring businesspeople in North Texas, there are few better “talent scouts” than the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year awards program. Because each of the program’s honorees has demonstrated excellence and success, each of their stories contains a nugget of wisdom—if not several of them.
This year, for the eighth straight year, D CEO is proud to present all of the 2015 finalists in the program’s Southwest Region—49 individuals, plus two “iconic entrepreneurs” selected for recognition: multimedia mogul Glenn Beck, the program’s Master In Media & Entertainment honoree, and American Airlines Group Chairman and CEO Doug Parker, the program’s Entrepreneur Of The Year-Transformation.
The 2015 finalists were selected by a panel of independent judges that included former winners and leading chief executive officers. They were: Nitin Ahuja, co-founder and CEO, Entercoms Inc.; Chris Cantarella, senior client partner, Korn Ferry; Carrie Freeman Parsons, vice chair, Freeman; Satin Mirchandani, CEO, TractManager Holdings; Steve Valenta, senior managing director, NASDAQ OMX; Brian Reinsborough, founder, president, and CEO, Venari Resources LLC; Brian Williams, co-founder and CEO, OneSource Virtual; Gary Wojtaszek, president and CEO, CyrusOne; and Randy Watson, president and CEO, Justin Brands.
All of the business leaders in EY’s Southwest Region competition were scheduled to be honored at an awards gala in Dallas on June 27. Winners there will go on to compete for EY’s national and international Entrepreneur Of The Year awards.
ROLAND DICKEY JR., CEO
Keeping a 74-year-old restaurant business fresh and appealing is a balancing act, says Roland Dickey Jr., the third generation of the Dickey family to head up the company. “Our heart and soul is making great barbecue,” he says, “and we have to make sure that we keep our core values while also making sure that we’re never outdone by our competitors.”
Dickey, whose grandfather, Travis Dickey Sr., founded Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in 1941, was named CEO in 2006. Since taking the helm, he has grown the number of stores from 20 to 500 across the United States. He also added online ordering for all its locations and a national catering hotline that now accounts for 15 percent of Dickey’s overall sales.
The company sells barbecue sauce and rubs in its stores and plans to add new lines of potato chips and dinner rolls.
As always, each store smokes all of its meats on site, including brisket, pulled pork, ham, polish sausage, turkey breast, and chicken, and offers a variety of sides.
Dickey regularly checks out the competition by visiting their restaurants, and one thing often stands out. “The food may be good,” he says, “but the atmosphere doesn’t have a good vibe. We want our customers to have fun when they visit our stores.” From the music to the rustic décor, Dickey’s stores aim for an upbeat, energetic ambiance.
The company, which is looking at expanding internationally, opened more than 100 new locations in 2014 and plans to repeat that this year.
BY JEFF BOUNDS, GLENN HUNTER, KAREN NIELSEN, AND GLENDA VOSBURGH PUBLISHED IN D CEO JULY-AUGUST 2015